Thursday, November 10, 2011

Remotely Operated Vehicle

What is a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)? It is one of the instruments we are going to use to explore the seamounts. A ROV is a kind of robot you can control directly from the ship through a big electric cable (umbilical). It has two mechanical arms; it can take samples (sediments and living material) and stores them into boxes until it reaches the surface again. It takes high resolution images from the seabed and allows the scientists to decide in real time which zone they want to sample, which animals they want to collect for further analysis (e.g. genetics). It can also take water from the deep and bring it back on board to analyse its chemical properties.

Because seamounts are deep-sea habitats, it wouldn’t be possible to study them carefully without a means to go deep down in the vicinity of the seabed, and the ROV is a perfect instrument for that.
The ROV we will be using during this cruise is the ROV KIEL 6000 from IFM-GEOMAR. Six technicians from this institution are on board to operate and take good care of the ROV.

Wandering albatross / copyright A Spadone